Maryland’s Unique Industry-Led Approach to Filling the Craft Worker Pipeline
To improve its construction workforce pipeline, Maryland should focus on three areas:
- Generate career interest among young talent by changing the image of construction
- Align education with new technologies and skill sets and create stronger pathways from high school through university levels
- Increase the supply of 4-year Construction Management graduates produced in Maryland
These findings came out of a report, titled The Critical Path: Positioning Maryland as an Innovation Leader in the Global Construction Industry, released in December 2012 by the Maryland Center for Construction Education and Innovation (MCCEI). MCCEI was formed in 2010 by a consortium of construction executives, education leaders and government officials to address the workforce issues Maryland’s built environment was facing as a result of the Great Recession. This industry-led effort, which included Associated Builders and Contractors’ Baltimore Metro Chapter President Mike Henderson, was designed to bridge the gaps between in-demand construction skills and supply provided by Maryland’s educational institutions: ultimately creating a sustainable workforce pipeline to feed back into Maryland business.
“This is something we thought was critical if we were going to have any hope of getting K-12 and the colleges to do a better job of offering real education and career opportunities in the construction industry,” Henderson said.
The Critical Path was a product of interviews with more than 125 of Maryland’s leading construction executives who sat down with MCCEI and discussed the future of construction and their opinions on what the education system needed to produce employable graduates for Maryland business.
The result was a series of recommendations to build a world-class education system for Maryland’s built environment that focused on the three areas above.
To address the report’s findings, MCCEI’s Board of Directors, has formed taskforce committees for each area of focus and over the next year, they plan to:
- Create an information campaign designed to reach students, parents, and school administrators that portrays construction as a viable career and highlights the various careers choices available.
- Convene industry review panels from across the state to evaluate specific construction-education programs and provide insight on curricula and emerging technologies needed in the education system.
- Determine the statewide industry demand for construction management professionals and explore alternatives in post-secondary education to meet the state’s demand.
MCCEI’s foundation was built on industry input and collaboration with education to fix the construction labor crisis in Maryland. This unique partnership creates honest and open discussion about what works, and what doesn’t work within Maryland’s current education system. Progress won’t happen overnight, but this hand-on, industry approach, certainly has us going in the right direction.
For more information about MCCEI, visit www.mccei.org or call 410-704-5981.